Everyone remembers where they were when they first saw The Lion King in theaters. Well, not me because, you know, I was two years old, but I do remember watching it many a time on our VHS player (God, I’m old). Still to this day revered as a modern animated classic, The Lion King captured the hearts of countless little children and adults in 1994, and like The Little Mermaid and Snow White before it, quickly became the first image that popped into people’s heads whenever they heard the name Walt Disney Pictures. So surely no one would eeever try to reboot such a classic right? PSYCHE!!!
The good folks at Disney are currently in the casting process for what can only be described as a live-action remake of The Lion King. Reportedly, the two most important roles have already been cast. First off, Donald Glover (The Martian, Community, Atlanta) will portray the film’s hero, Simba. An interesting choice, for sure. What’s really exciting however is that James Earl Jones (Star Wars, The Hunt for Red October, Malcolm X) will reprise his role as Mufasa, the titular “Lion King”. This, to me, is good news, since characters voiced by James Earl Jones tend to be lackluster when he is replaced by anyone else (There’s a reason Lucasfilm brought back Jones to voice Darth Vader in last year’s Rogue One). Jeff Nathanson, the screenwriter responsible for the very well received Catch Me If You Can, will script the film.
If the live-action element has you worried about seeing Donald Glover and James Earl Jones crawling around the African Savannah on all fours in ridiculous lion costumes, don’t worry. Though the film is live-action, it will heavily rely on cutting edge CGI technology to bring the characters to life, much like last year’s surprisingly good remake of The Jungle Book, and like the The Jungle Book, it will also be directed by Jon Favreau, who has proven he knows how to make a world come to life, even if that world is made up entirely of computer generated imagery.
I’m always skeptical of remakes of modern classics, but The Lion King, for me, is just a rung short of blasphemy, so the inevitable trailer will have a lot of work to do to convince me this isn’t a bad idea. Then again, I’ve been wrong before.